Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Bunnies Have Arrived

ButterCup successfully delivered four babies to her Christmas nest box sometime during the evening of December 22. I was beginning to worry that I could not get our does producing again this year. Even though  ButterCup, Jazzie, and Wilma are only in their second breeding season, I was worried the summer layoff may have somehow  lowered their ability to conceive. Had my does grown too fat with a six-month layoff?  Had my bucks become sterile over the hot summer? Buttercup’s nest box only contains four kits, but they are a start to a new season. Perhaps one will make the show table in Reno or San Diego.

Hopefully, Jazzie will follow suit tonight with a litter sired by our new broken buck, LoverBoy. She seems interested in building a nest, but has not started pulling any hair yet. I was surprised at the lack of hair lining ButterCup’s nest, even on a cold night.

The thought of my does from last breeding season not producing has caused me to reconsider my breeding program. I have tried to keep only a limited number of does, but now realize how fragile that leaves the genetics of my herd. One bad break of luck and I could lose what we have worked hard to accomplish with the reds. Last year we produced some very consistent bucks and does, all with nice shoulders, good color, and strong hindquarters. I guess that means we will have to add cages so that we can increase our number of does to about eight. We currently have four does and five bucks.

To breed straight through summer has been the recommendation of many breeders who believe in breeding back at 42 or 49 days. Now even my wife says I need to follow others’ advice and breed year round. Breeding year round in Springville means installing an air conditioning system to keep garage around eighty degrees.

I guess breeding rabbits is like any other hobby in that “if you give a mouse a cookie,” you will be forever expanding, tinkering, revising, or learning something new. I guess that is what keeps us pursuing our hobbies, whatever they may be.

P.S. On the morning of December 24, Jazzie gave birth to three broken kits. She pulled hair for a very nice nest. The sire is our new Broken buck LoverBoy. Images of Jazzie and LoverBoy can be seen via our link to our Breeding Barn page.